About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Author Interview: Fleur Beale

Fleur Beale is a kiwi author who has written the terrific Juno of Taris series. The first book in the series, Juno of Taris, won the 2010 Esther Glen Award. The follow up, Fierce September, won the Young Adult Fiction Award in the 2011 NZ Post Children's Book Awards. The final volume, Heart of Danger is available now and published by Random House. I'm reading it right now, so I'll post a review as soon as I finish it. Below is an interview I conducted with Fleur Beale this week.

1                     You are a prolific children’s writer. What is it that you like most about your job?
What I like about being a writer is the freedom. I can work when I want to, and if it's a sunny day I can go to the beach. It's fun too to be in charge of a world that's your own creation. I can also daydream and call it work!
        Can you take us through your typical writing day?
I've got a little office in town in an old building. I go in on the bus in the mornings and write till about 1 or two. Sometimes I'll start again when I get home, or I'll catch up on paperwork. If it's raining, I stay home and write.
     How long did it take you to write the Juno of Taris series and was it originally devised as a series?
When I wrote Juno of Taris I had no thought of writing a series. The idea for that only popped up once the book was published. I wrote the book several years before it was published, but the manuscript got lost on the way to an agent in the US. I printed it out again and when I read it I could see that it needed more work. I threw the manuscript in the cupboard and went off to live in the UK for a year. I didn't look at the story again till some time after I got back home. I read it and still liked the story but by leaving so much time between writing it and revisiting it, I could see clearly where it needed to be worked on. I had to completely rewrite it because the computer the document was on got stolen three days before I was due to leave London and all I had was the discarded manuscript in the cupboard.
       A bio-dome in the Pacific Ocean is an interesting take on speculative fiction. What inspired your idea?
I wanted a remote area where it would be feasible that all communication with the outside world could be cut off. I'd been to the Eden Project in Devon and seen the bio-domes there so I just made the Taris one bigger.
       So far the books in the Juno of Taris series have won some prestigious prizes. Are you surprised by the series’ success so far?
Yes, but very, very delighted!
6                     The blogs you set up were an interesting adjunct to this series. What took you down this path?
I heard a young woman say she could never resist looking up any website address she saw and the blog idea developed from there.

       What are your three favourite island stories?
I'm probably not intrigued by island stories as such, it's more the constraints such an environment places on its inhabitants. I like stories where there are boundaries for the characters to push and struggle against. I enjoyed Mandy Hager's Blood of the Lamb series though, and Anna Mackenzie's Seawreck Stranger trilogy - both of which involve islands.

      If you had to live in an island bio-dome for a year what would your major duties be?
I'd probably be a spinner and weaver. I wouldn't like people to have to depend on my gardening skills!
Thanks Fleur and all the best with your future writing.

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